Yesterday, I was at a local market picking up some chicken and other items for dinner. Once I got home and unpacked the bags, I realized there was no chicken in any of the sacks. I pulled out the receipt, saw that I had indeed been charged for the chicken, but somehow it hadn’t made its way home with me.
This is the second time in two weeks this exact thing has happened to me. So, as you can probably imagine, I was not excited or pleased to have to get back into the car and head back to the market get my chicken.
When I walked into the store, I spied the checkout girl across the building and walked up to her and explained that my chicken never made it into my car. She nodded, handed me the chicken that she had been keeping cold in the freezer, hoping I’d come back. She offered no apology, no explanation other than to scold me for not double checking all my bags before I left the parking lot. Her parting comment was this: “Well, it’s not MY fault. Maybe next time you should spend a little more time double checking that you got all your things instead of speeding off like a bat-outta-you-know-where.”
I had a choice in that moment: to operate out of my very real human desire to lash back with commentary regarding the fact that bag checking was not MY job; or, I could operate out of the gentleness and humility espoused in Matthew 5:5 (and further taught to us by Jesus in Matthew 5:38-48).
So…I smiled and thought of this week’s beatitude. I thanked her for keeping my chicken cool, silently thanked God for helping me to keep MY cool, and left the building. Whew.
When we, as Christians, operate and act without a gentle spirit or a spirit of meekness, we portray a face of hypocrisy to the world. The world hears the message that Jesus is love, kindness, and mercy. But without gentleness and humility in our actions, we show an entirely different face. When we stay in the folds of His meekness, however, we exude His powerful grace.
Blessed are the meek [gentle, humble] for they will inherit the earth. Matthew 5:5
Spiritually speaking, meekness means the acceptance of individual limitations, coupled with a sense of resolve to do something about it. In other words, “I cannot do this on my own so I need to enlist the help of God”. It is a visible demonstration of care, concern and compassion. It is strength under control.
The word “meek” in this beatitude is translated from the Greek word “praus”, which was the word used to describe domesticated animals. But not as in a housepet, like a little kitten. Instead, it was the word most often used to describe an ox or powerful farming animal that had been expertly trained and “disciplined” so that it could be extremely effective and focused in its work for the farmer.
You can also think of it in terms of the best trained service dog; like a seeing eye dog. She has been so well trained and is so focused on the actions of her master, her behavior is a direct reflection of what her master desires and needs from her in that moment. No squirrel, squeaky toy, or even cheeseburger will take her eyes off her master. (And trust me, that’s saying A LOT!)
So, with that in mind, this word “meek” in Matthew 5:5 refers to a person who is so spiritually strong that she is focused solely on the will of God in her thoughts, words, motivation, emotion, and action.
It’s about complete obedience and submission to the will of God – not mild mannered cowering in the face of opposition.
“Abba, Father,” he cried out, “everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Mark 14:36, NIV
That scripture is the culmination of Jesus personifying the strength of meekness.
“He evidenced this perfect obedience and submission to the will of God on the cross.”
Jennifer Dean Kennedy
With our first two beatitudes, we’ve gone face down before God to admit our utter reliance on Him and remained on our knees with repentant hearts for our sins. Today, we lift our eyes just high enough to place our gaze on Jesus, who models for us the behavior of marvelously meek savior, waiting to give us our inheritance of heaven.
So, if we rewrite this beatitude this week, we could say something like this:
Blessed are those who are strong enough spiritually to deepen their obedience and submission to God, those who keep their eyes on the heart and soul of Jesus, for and their actions will be soaked through His grace, and their resting place transformed for eternity.
Following along with our study at home?! Click here for the be blessed homepage and scroll down to the Week 4 homework link! Like our music selections?! Get your groove on this week with this tune by The Sidewalk Prophets, “If You Only Knew“!
Thanks for being a part of this journey with us!
Peace, love, and joy!
Up Next Week: What are YOU hungry for?!